Marketing and Communications
in Diverse Digital World
Hofstede Cultural Dimensions
Hofstede’s four cultural dimensions: ‘Power Distance, Avoidance of Uncertainty, Self vs the Group, Male vs Female’, all have significant impact on WOM and brand communication, plus a low or no negative WOM being important when engaging with target audience (Lam et al., 2009). Hofstede’s dimensions are now six after being expanded further to include ‘Long-Short Term Orientation’, and ‘Indulgence-Restraint’ (Hofstede, 2011).
Some issues with this model include being culturally specific to IBM or the sample population at the time, predated wider access to travel, communications technology, newly emergent broad middle classes, with very significant regional and language differences within target market nations e.g. India and China. Additionally, there are now demographic and cultural dynamics in societies along with globalisation; but the process of investigation of culture is very worthwhile, especially within a specific business or organisational environment (Myers & Tan, 2003).
This research study focused upon similarities of individuals when searching for information, not differences between nationalities, precluded by constraints of this study. However, for utility or at a practical level any marketer or institution must be aware and sensitive towards cultural or national differences, that need to be accounted for in marketing and communications strategy, without national stereotyping. As suggested, there is no one common behaviour or culture, however, a skilled marketer would understand the importance and how to assess, then account for in any regional or nation specific strategy under their purview.
e-Consumer Behaviour – What do they do?
Another more contemporary approach has three dimensions in e-consumer behaviour for brand trust: ‘Brand Experience’ and ‘Search for Information’, ‘Brand Familiarity’ and ‘Customer Satisfaction’, both cognitive and emotional (Ha & Perks, 2005). Again, ‘brand experience’ and ‘search for information’ are highlighted as significant dimensions of consumer behaviour, underpinned by both rational thinking and feelings, including or represented by WOM.
Importantly, WOM referrals have longer or greater impact, if part of marketing communication strategy to leverage lower costs and speed of message via internet to persuade consumers, but little if any measurement or research has been conducted (Trusov et al., 2009).
Relationship Marketing, Interaction & Consumer Input
This leads onto to relationship marketing and online interaction that have become more important with internet due to two-way or multi-lateral communication potential (Liu, 2007). In related ‘youth’ industry i.e. tourism and travel, youth users of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and SM have changed their behaviour on how they search for information on products, and can contribute to or participate in design, development and distribution of new products (Bizirgiannia & Dionysopoulou, 2013).
This highlights the fact that purchasing is a process over time, youth expect interaction around the product, two-way communication helps inform them and they can contribute to new products, including the marketing and communications strategy e.g. SEO. In other words, talk systematically with and analyse your target market for feedback on products and experience, in addition to preferred distribution or communication channels and behaviour, to ensure any strategy works well.
Bizirgiannia, I. & Dionysopoulou, P. (2013) The influence of tourist trends of Youth Tourism through Social Media (SM) & Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) at the 2nd International Conference on Integrated Information. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042813003959 (Accessed 18/11/2016).
Ha, H. & Perks, H. (2005) Effects of consumer perceptions of brand experience on the web: Brand familiarity, satisfaction and brand trust. Journal of Consumer Behaviour. 4(6) pp. 438–452. Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cb.29/abstract (Accessed on: 18/11/2016).
Hofstede, G. (2011). Dimensionalizing Cultures: The Hofstede Model in Context. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, 2(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.9707/2307-0919.1014
Lam D., Lee A. & Mizerski R (2009) The Effects of Cultural Values in World-of-Mouth Communication. Journal of International Marketing. 17(3) pp. 55-70 Published by: American Marketing Association Harvard system
Liu Y (2007) Online interaction readiness: conceptualisation and measurement. Journal of Customer Behaviour. 6(3) pp. 283-299. Available at: http://www.yupingliu.com/files/papers/liu_interaction_readiness.pdf Accessed on: 10/01/2017.
Myers, M. & Tan, F. (2003) Beyond Models of National Culture in Information Systems Research. In Tan, F. (Ed.) Advanced Topics in Global Information Management Vol. 2. pp. 14-29. Hershey PA: Idea Group Publishing.
Trusov, M., Bucklin, R. & Pauwels, K. (2009) Effects of Word-of-Mouth versus Traditional Marketing: Findings from an Internet Social Networking Site. Journal of Marketing. 73(5) pp. 90-102.